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Topic: Flow Proofs again
Replies: 9   Last Post: May 9, 1996 11:45 AM

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Ed Wall

Posts: 36
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Flow Proofs again
Posted: May 8, 1996 12:46 AM
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>Ed Wall wrote:

>> Did the same experiment. Two column proofs were prefered.
>Student preferences are often conditioned to follow the path of least
>resistance, which is often the path of least learning.
>--Lou Talman

Thanks for this comment. I happen to agree up to a point. However, the comments
I received were of the order that the two column proof seemed a bit more
structured and, consequently (this is a opinion), a bit clearer.

The reason I have been trying flow proofs is because I felt they might be
somewhat less threating (whatever that means :-)) than two column proofs and
because they seem to lead more naturally to the type of proofs that might be
written latter. I must to admit to having a bias: I don't use two column
proofs. But perhaps that is a matter of style. In fact, in many of the areas
that I do 'proofs' I tend to use a flow type approach which finally envolves
into the paragrah form.

Do students learn less with the two column proof method? I really don't know.
I feel that any effort made trying to get students to express their insight
into a problem is quite worth while. On the other hand, they do need the
experience of following and producing a logical argument. So perhaps flow
proofs and two column proofs are complementary.

In any case, my response was to the preferences of students as I had somehow
gained the impression that two column proofs were difficult and archaic and
most students preferred something 'easy' and 'less challenging' like flow
proofs :-).

Ed Wall

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